Amid reports that the unemployment rate in the United States rose to 5.5% last month, the United States House of Representatives voted to extend jobless benefits for 13 weeks nationwide and for 26 weeks in high unemployment states – those with 6% unemployment or higher.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, this would provide relief for 3.8 million Americans.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lauded the passage of the Emergency Extended Unemployment Compensation Act saying, “The time is right. The number of long-term unemployed Americans is higher now than when Congress last extended unemployment benefits in 2002.
“Extending unemployment benefits has the potential to help the entire American economy,” Pelosi said. “All Americans are feeling real, serious, and deep economic pain. Yet President Bush has issued a veto threat against this legislation – despite the fact that it will help 3.8 million Americans and in fact, the entire economy.”
While all six Georgia Congressional Democrats voted to provide millions of Georgians and Americans with relief in the sluggish economy, the G7 — Georgia’s 7 Republican members of Congress — voted against the bill [Source: House Roll Call 412].
The head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Chris Van Hollen (D – Maryland) had some heavy criticisms for Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey and the other 142 Republicans who sided with George W. Bush’s latest veto threat over middle class families struggling to make ends meet.
“House Republican efforts to defend the status quo and protect George Bush’s and John McCain’s failed economic polices have reached a new low,” Van Hollen said. “Less than one week after the largest one-month jump in America’s unemployment rate in two decades, House Republicans blocked passage of a bill to extend unemployment insurance to workers, who are struggling to find a new job in this slowing economy.
“This is a firm reminder that Republicans are absolutely comfortable with the status quo and are completely out of touch with the harsh economic realities facing American workers.”